Blooms of death: Flowers rake in billions at the cost of workers' lives
It started with bleeding in 2012, three months after working with Oserian flower firm in Naivasha. Janeclare Oloo thought she was experiencing her monthly periods.
When the bleeding did not stop she rushed to the company’s health facility. She received some treatment but the bleeding continued.
The company doctor referred her to Naivasha District Hospital. She was admitted for two weeks and later discharged. But still, there was no change.
Ms Oloo was taken back to the district hospital and admitted for another week. There was no improvement again and a doctor directed her to visit Kijabe Mission Hospital in Kiambu County. She was still bleeding profusely.
“Doctors tried for three days and I thought finally the problem had been fixed and returned back to the company but the condition persisted,” she says.
In April 2012, the company doctor referred her to Kenya National Hospital (KNH) and she was supposed to be going for hematology clinics every month.
In late 2013, one of the doctors at KNH went through Ms Oloo’s file and asked her where she was working. She told him she was working with a flower firm in Naivasha.
The doctor then cancelled the clinics and booked her for an operation, which was conducted in July 1, 2014.
“Operation was conducted and doctor found a raptured spleen, they removed it and I was told my immune system had gone down,” she says.
“The doctor advised me to always go for medication anytime I feel sick and that is how it has been since the operation was done.”
Ms Oloo has been a frequent visitor of KNH ever since. On March 20 this year, she started feeling some chest congestion.
She went for medication at the Oserian company health facility, but her condition did not improve.
“I was taken to Longonot hospital for treatment but I was not seeing any change. I then returned to Kijabe hospital and was diagnosed with pneumonia,” she recalls.
Despite being treated for pneumonia, she was still experiencing chest congestion. Doctors treated her for three weeks and later it was found out that she had ulcers.
“I was discharged and went back to the company but I could not do anything. I just decided to stay in my house,” she narrates.
She decided to travel to her rural home in Mundika village, Matayos Constituency, in July. She visited St Dominiano Hospital in Bungoma where again she was diagnosed with pneumonia and ulcers.
She was admitted for four days and discharged, but still there was no change.
She says the doctor at KNH suspected she had cancer of the intestines.
Ms Oloo has not lived a normal or peaceful life since the first time she fell sick while working for Oserian flower company. Last week she experienced a severe headache.
And on Monday, she went to Busia County Referral Hospital in critical condition. The doctor referred her to a private facility in Busia town where a CT scan revealed that she had pulmonary tuberculosis.
“The doctor at the referral hospital said complications were caused by chemicals and warned me against going back to the same job,” she said.
“The doctor at KNH had also cautioned me not to go back to the flower firm I was working for because of the chemicals.”
Oserian did not respond to our questions about the case.
Since 2013, Ms Oloo has been anaemic and she has blood transfusion every three months. She cannot do anything right now. She walks slowly, cannot bend or lean on any side and only talks in a low tone.
“Most of the time I am in hospital, I sometime feel doctors may get tired with me,” she says.